Reich is a towering figure in the development of body psychotherapy.
A favoured associate of Freud in the 1920’s, his Character Analysis (1933) was regarded at the time as a classic of psychoanalytic theory and practice. His interest embraced social issues: he was active in left wing politics and in movements promoting the availability of sex education and birth control, to the chagrin of his analytic colleagues.
A sharp-eyed clinician working in free clinics with a less articulate working class clientèle, he began to observe that psychological and emotional problems were manifest in patterns of bodily tension, and even that addressing the problem at the body level made for psychological improvement. In this way he developed the concept of the “muscular armour” and the “functional identity” of mind and body.
As he focused more on embodied and energetic processes, and insisted on adhering to Freud’s notion of the sexual origin of the neuroses, while proposing his own idea of “orgastic potency” as the test of psychological health, a split with Freud and the analysts became inevitable. Too political for the analysts, and too analytic for the communists, he further antagonized the emerging Nazi’s by claiming (The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933),) that Fascism was a symptom sexual repression.
Brilliant and headstrong, he pursued unorthodox, and still largely unrecognized ideas about “orgone” energy in human beings, in nature and in the cosmos. He died in prison in the USA in 1958, in conflict with the FDA, after some tons of his books had been burned.
He left us with the concepts of the pulsating energetic flow that animates us as vitality, sensation, and emotion; the arrangement of the body into horizontally arranged segments whose over-contraction blocks that flow, creating “muscular armouring”; the model of charge and discharge; and, some say, the sexual revolution.
History has yet to measure the real insight, contribution and madness of this remarkable man.
"Charles R. “Chuck” Kelley, Ph.D. founded Radix.
He was born on September 25, 1922 with an insatiable curiosity. He was an experimental psychologist, human factors engineer and university lecturer with “mainstream” credentials when he became fascinated with Wilhelm Reich’s work with the life force, which he came to call the radix.
Skeptic that he was, Chuck carried out Reich’s weather experiments, experienced orgone therapy, and published The Creative Process which, in the early sixties, was the only American journal devoted to Reich’s work following his death.
The development of Radix Education in Feeling, Purpose and Vision Improvement paralleled his need to understand the origins of muscular armor, often using personal experience as his guide.
His near-sightedness resulted in his Dissertation on the psychological factors affecting myopia and in practice as a Bates Instructor. Research on sexual functioning led to election as Diplomate by the American Board of Sexology, and his “purpose” program evolved from studying Ayn Rand and experiencing Synanon, Nathaniel Branden’s pioneering work with self esteem, and Reuven Bar-Levav's Crisis Mobilization Therapy among others.
Chuck lived to see the distillation of his life's work published as Life Force: The Creative Process in Man and in Nature before dying suddenly but not unexpectedly in April 2005. He wrote and taught to his dying day.